Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific, why was General MacArthur not in the loop and only notified 2 days prior to dropping the bombs on Japan? Was his objection ignored?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the main reasons he was not informed was that he was in fact very opposed to the use of the bomb against Japan.  The decision to use the bomb was actually very contentious and given MacArthur's particular concerns about reprisals during an occupation he was slated to oversee, he was purposely kept out of the loop.

"Shortly after "V-J Day," the end of the Pacific war, Brig. General Bonnie Fellers summed up in a memo for General MacArthur: "Neither the atomic bombing nor the entry of the Soviet Union into the war forced Japan's unconditional surrender. She was defeated before either these events took place."

Obviously no one wanted the attack to be made public and there was some danger that some of the people might in fact do so, so MacArthur was one who was kept out of the loop.

His feeling was that the bomb ought to be kept a secret as long as possible and used when absolutely necessary.  Again, he felt Japan was no serious threat and would eventually surrender.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The short answer here is that there was no need to inform him.  Also, informing him would have made it more likely that the secret would have gotten out.

While MacArthur was in charge of the potential invasion of Japan, that did not mean he was in charge of the overall strategy for fighting the war.  The people in charge of that were the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, ultimately, the President.  So there was no need to ask MacArthur's opinion on the matter.

As far as I know, MacArthur was not consulted and did not register any objection.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team